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Part 08 - Electronics

I know, I know...it's been weeks since any updates to this project. I've been travelling over the last 6 weeks, to the UK and Brazil. When I got back, work was crazy, and other activities have taken all my spare time. 

But I'm back now, and have a long weekend planned, so I'm hoping to get the controller board completed. I made a start a couple of days before I left for the UK, but only managed an hour or so of soldering, as seen below.

Hopefully, by the end of the weekend, I'll have the board completed and continuity checked, ready for testing later in the week.

Update: Ha! Famous last words....it's been several more weeks between the above pictures and any movement...I won't bore you with the details - just work, work, work.

Here's some additional pictures of the board assembly, which actually happened over a three week period, but in total was around 3 hours work.


All of the components are basic through hole solder jobs, and as such the board was fairly easy to assemble - although it has to be said that the board is pretty tightly packed, making for some rather fiddly joints in some areas.

Just a quick note on attaching the heatsinks to the Pololu stepper drivers - I placed the heatsink flat on the thermal paste backing salvaged from the fan, and just cut around it with a scalpel - these then were placed firmly on the stepper chips and seems to hold in place very well.

The completed board - at this stage untested. I'm still having issues with this board - it talks to my PC OK, and I can get the hot end and heated bed to warm/cool on command, but the steppers refuse to move the motors, which is very frustrating. I have a few ideas on what this might be - two resistors marked R7 and R8 are installed in the 1.3a version of this board, which I think (if I've read the notes and schematics correctly) act as a motor disable between the ATMEGA and the drivers - as I'm getting good voltage readings on the driver ref's (0.4v as recommended) I think that I may have a dry joint on one of these resistors and the steppers are happily sitting there idling all the time. I'm going to attack it with my iron and meter later today, so maybe it'll work....just in case I've ordered another pre-build board from Think3dPrint3d - either way this damn printer will work!